National

Why today's front pages are blank

Why today's front pages are blank
National newspaper front pages have been printed blanked out in a united protest by the media industry against government secrecy and cover-up.
In Your Right to Know, papers – including those published by Nine – rolled off the presses overnight with heavily redacted front pages.
The campaigns highlights how government bureaucrats are holding back information which matters to everyday Australians. It is also demanding legal reforms to stop information being held that is vital to consumers such as details about abuse of the elderly in aged care homes.
Earlier this year, Australian Federal Police officers raided the Canberra home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst and the Sydney headquarters of the ABC.
The back-to-back June raids were in relation to separate stories based on leaked government information.
Federal police raided the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst over a 2018 story detailing an alleged government proposal to spy on Australians. (Twitter)
Ms Smethurst's story outlined a government proposal to spy on Australian citizens without their knowledge.
Proposed reforms include the right for media companies to challenge a warrant used for a police raid. Other changes include exemptions for journalists from some of the national security laws.
The campaign, launched last night with national television advertisements, widens the public debate beyond 'the right to know', by highlighting the harm to Australians if corruption and abuse are not revealed.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU

Nine News' political editor Chris Uhlmann said the campaign was aimed at securing reforms to bring Australia into line with other democracies such as the US and Britain.
"One of the things that we would like to do is simply be able to contest the fact that the police may be about to raid a journalist's home or an organisation. So that's simply to have a debate in an open court where that can be contested."
And he said journalists' work was vital in revealing important information for the public.
"You might be interested in knowing that the Australian Tax Office can go directly to your account and take money out of it without your permission when it starts debt collecting. Now, because of a whistle blower, we do know that now."
And Mr Uhlmann said the media had also played a major part in highlighting aged care abuses.
"A lot of people would like to know whether the aged care home that they might put their parents into has or hasn't been involved in abusing elders. Those statistics are released. Over the years people have tried to break that down to get information on which particular homes have been a problem.
"There's a royal commission on that at the moment. You still can't find out where that's a particular problem inside Australia."
Today's front page of The Sydney Morning Herald. (Nine)
Nine Entertainment chief executive Hugh Marks said the new campaign was "much bigger than the media" because it was about the right of all Australians to know about decisions made in their name.
Two parliamentary inquiries are under way - one into press freedom and whistleblowers, and the other looking at the impact of police and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press.
More information about the media campaign against the government can be found at yourrighttoknow.com.au and on social media under #righttoknow.